Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo launched on Tuesday a new standard gauge railway project linking Nigeria’s largest city Lagos with Ibadan, capital of the southwestern Oyo State.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Osinbajo said the project, expected to be completed by 2018, will help the country in its economic diversification process. The Lagos-Ibadan Modernization rail project, a standard gauge rail line, with extension to the Lagos Port Complex in Apapa, was awarded by the Nigerian government to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. “It was important to have a viable self-sustaining and improving railway services,” Osinbajo said.
The acting president told his audience that it was part of the promises made by the president during the campaign period. “Our appreciation goes to the Chinese government, who have always proven to be reliable partners with Nigeria.
As some may be aware, we have the entire Lagos-Kano standard gauge track, as well as the Lagos-Calabar railway track in the 2017 budget,” he added. Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor of Lagos, on the occasion said the project will open up the economy of the southwest region and facilitate regional integration and growth. Ambode said less resources would also be expended on road repair and maintenance once the rail line commenced.
He lauded the government for prioritizing the project, saying it greatly complements the efforts to deliver a transport system that was befitting of a modern city-state. “The agricultural sector will receive a long awaited boost, as this rail line will be a fast and convenient means of transporting farm produce from the hinterlands to the city, thereby increasing the economy of these places,” he said.